Galician Tuna Empanadas

Empanadas originated in the Iberian peninsula, specifically in the Galician region in what is now Spain. Through colonization the Spanish and Portuguese brought this dish to America where it was transformed and re-interpreted into the many variations available today.

The filling for this recipe is tuna but if you wish to experiment you can always try ground beef or pork.


400 g or 3 1/4 cup all purpose flour and a bit extra for rolling
1 teaspoon salt
75g / 3 oz butter, softened
2 eggs
60 ml fine sherry
1 egg white, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, finely diced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
125 g or 1/2 cup canned chopped tomatoes
1 teaspoon chili powder
85 g canned tuna in water, drained
1 1/2 tabelspoons chopped red pepper
2 tablespoons chopped italian parsley
salt and peper to taste


1. Sift the flour and 1 teaspoon salt into a large bow. With a spatula or wooden spoon mix the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.

2. In a small cup combine the 2 eggs and the sherry. Slowly pour this mixture into the flour bowl, mixing as you pour. You want the mixture to clump and form a dough. Gather the dough together into a smooth ball and cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. It is important not to knead the dough or your pastry will be tough.

3. While the dough sets prepare the filling. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat and cook the onion until translucent (about 5 minutes). Add the tomato paste, chopped tomato chili powder and cook for 10 minutes. Add the tuna, red pepper and parsley and season with salt and pepper. Allow the mixture to cook for an additional 10 minutes or until the liquid has evaporated.

4. Preheat oven to 375 F. Remove dough from refrigerator and dust a work surface with the extra flour. Using a rolling pin roll our half the pastry to a thickness of 2 mm. With a 10 cm round cutter cut 12 circles. Note that you may use a different size cutter. Put a heaping tablespoon of the filling in the middle of a circle of dough, fold over and brush the edges with water, then pinch to seal. I recommend that you do each empanada at a time.

5. Place the empanada on a lightly oiled baking tray and brush with extra egg white. This step will add shine to the empanada and allow the dough to keep it’s moisture. With a fork pierce the top of the empanada, this will allow steam to scape.

When you have built the 24 empanadas bake for 30 minutes or until golden.

Yields: 24

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